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Cancer Cell. 2008 Oct 7;14(4):299-311. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2008.09.004.

Tumor-targeted interferon-alpha delivery by Tie2-expressing monocytes inhibits tumor growth and metastasis.

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Angiogenesis and Tumor Targeting Research Unit, San Raffaele Institute, 20132 Milano, Italy.


The use of type I interferons (IFNs) in cancer therapy has been limited by ineffective dosing and significant toxicity. Here, we exploited the tumor-homing ability of proangiogenic Tie2-expressing monocytes (TEMs) to deliver IFN-alpha to tumors. By transplanting hematopoietic progenitors transduced with a Tie2 promoter/enhancer-driven Ifna1 gene, we turned TEMs into IFN-alpha cell vehicles that efficiently targeted the IFN response to orthotopic human gliomas and spontaneous mouse mammary carcinomas and obtained significant antitumor responses and near complete abrogation of metastasis. TEM-mediated IFN-alpha delivery inhibited tumor angiogenesis and activated innate and adaptive immune cells but did not impair myelopoiesis and wound healing detectably. These results illustrate the therapeutic potential of gene- and cell-based IFN-alpha delivery and should allow the development of IFN treatments that more effectively treat cancer.

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